Camper Van Beethoven El Camino Real
- Released: June 3, 2014
- Originally Released: 2014
- Label: 429 Records
- 1.The Ultimate Solution
- 2.It Was Like That When We Got Here
- 3.Classy Dames and Able Gents
- 4.Camp Pendleton
- 5.Dockweiler Beach
- 7.I Live in L.A.
- 8.Out Like a Lion
- 10.Darken Your Door
Personnel: David Lowery (vocals, guitar); Greg Lisher (guitar, lap steel guitar); Jonathan Segel (guitar, mandolin, violin, keyboards, background vocals); Victor Krummenacher (guitar); Michael Urbano (drums, percussion); Sanna Olsson (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Drew Vandenberg.
Recording information: East Bay Recorders, Berkeley, CA; Guerrilla Recording, Okland, CA; Sharkbite Studios, Oakland, CA.
David Lowery and Victor Krummenacher of Camper Van Beethoven first started making music together in the Southern California city of Redlands, but the band really came together Santa Cruz, in the northern part of the Golden State, and it's not hard to get a sense of where the group's greater loyalties lie by comparing their two concept albums about life in California, 2013's La Costa Perdida and 2014's El Camino Real. While La Costa Perdida was a relatively loose and upbeat celebration of Northern California, El Camino Real focuses on the southern part of the state, and the tone and mood are significantly different. The best numbers on El Camino Real are generally the most somber, especially the bitter lament of "Sugartown," the drifter's narrative of "Grasshopper," and the country-styled tale of broken hearts and bad luck "Darken Your Door." It doesn't take long to figure out the men of Camper Van Beethoven have a lot more fun up north, though El Camino Real finds them playing with a technical skill that puts their early classics to shame. Plenty of Californians spend hours arguing the virtues of Los Angeles vs. San Francisco, and Camper Van Beethoven were wise enough to make these two albums a more richly detailed conversation than that, but a couple spins of El Camino Real makes it obvious these guys are on the same side as Tony Bennett in this debate. ~ Mark Deming
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